Homeless People's Pets Aren't Homeless

Discussion in 'General Mastiff Discussion' started by Vicki, Feb 28, 2010.

  1. Vicki

    Vicki Administrator

    by Stephanie Feldstein
    category: Shelters and Adoption
    Published February 22, 2010 @ 10:00AM PT

    Between animal control taking their pets, vets who refuse to return patients to the streets, and shelters that don't allow animals, it's not easy for homeless people to have pets. Yet, according to the National Coalition for the Homeless, up to 10 percent (in some areas, as many as 24 percent) of them do.

    It's hard for animal lovers to see pets in the care of people who don't seem to have the resources to care for themselves. But being homeless means something different for animals than it does for people. Humans are considered homeless when they don't have a steady, fixed residence; for dogs and cats, homelessness is not having a steady caretaker.

    It takes dedication to care for a pet on the streets. It's much easier simply not to have an animal but, as we all know, that's not a simple choice. Pets might be the only source of support and stability in a homeless person's life. They also provide an emotional connection, warmth, and a sense of security. But that human-animal bond comes at a high price.

    It's so rare to find a shelter that accepts animals that many people choose to stay on the street rather than leave their pets behind. They're often harassed by animal control and fear that if they do need to seek vet care, the vet won't return their dog or cat if they can't provide a home address. Pet food costs money, and there are many days when they sacrifice their own needs to feed their animals.

    It may not be the ideal situation but if the animals are taken away, they'll end up in shelters, where they'll either be euthanized or placed into another home, which then becomes one less available home for the other 6-8 million animals waiting to be adopted.

    Of course, whether you're homeless or not, you need to meet minimum standards of care. But as long as the animals are healthy, fed, and loved, we should be working to keep them in their homes, however that home is defined. Homeless shelters need to follow the lead of women's shelters across the country and start opening their doors to pets. We also need more resources like Pets of the Homeless, an organization that provides food and vet care assistance, as well as tips on how to get a program started in your area.

    In the U.S., 2.5-3.5 million people experience homelessness each year and, in most cases, it's a temporary condition. More than twice as many cats and dogs experience homelessness (i.e. enter shelters), and for 4 million of them, it ends in the very permanent condition of euthanasia. The last thing we should be doing is adding to that number by taking pets away from people who love them.

  2. Sabrina

    Sabrina New Member

    I agree....these people often treat their pets better than themselves....they deserve to have their companions!
  3. moose

    moose New Member

    Yeah me to I feel like if the dogs are in good shape then let them be happy. I think any dog would rather know true human love and championship yet be "homeless", then be sitting in a pound somewhere alone and purposeless.
  4. gruppossamson

    gruppossamson New Member

    I also notice that many homeless people pets often act the best. You dont often see them pulling, barking or showing much agression. Unless of course their homeless owner is threatened. I dont see many homesless pets that look too skinny either. But I have occasionally seen dogs and other pets in owners yards where it is apparent they are not receiving the best nutrition, or are tied out away from their families with little interaction. I agree their does need to be programs to support homeless people keeping their pets.
  5. Renee

    Renee New Member

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